Pumpkin Care

Keep your pumpkins in tip-top condition all autumn long with these easy tricks!

Choosing your pumpkin:

  • Buy locally! This ensures that your pumpkin was picked recently and will hold up longer.
  • While at the pumpkin patch, look for pumpkins with clear skin and a firmly attached stalk.
  • Go for pumpkins without soft spots, as this may indicate frost damage. The skin should feel hard on all sides.
  • Do not lift your pumpkin by the stem: use two hands to lift in order to avoid damaging the stem.

At home:

  • Be sure to keep your pumpkin out of extreme temperatures. If it is a hot fall day, consider putting them in the fridge. If the temp is near freezing, bring your pumpkins inside. When pumpkins freeze and thaw, they rot faster.
  • Keep your pumpkin out of direct sunlight.
  • Wait as long as possible to carve. Pumpkins begin breaking down soon after they are cut. Though it may be tempting, avoid creating your artistic masterpieces more than a week or two before Halloween day.

When decorating:

  • Use petroleum jelly. Coat the exposed flesh with the jelly slow break down from air exposure.
  • For a longer lasting pumpkin, opt for paint when decorating.
  • Avoid using candles. Heat will only speed up decomposition. Consider battery powered lights instead.
  • Use a wash to prevent bacterial growth. Look online to find easy recipes for pumpkin preservations washes made from borax, peppermint oil, and water. For best results, fully submerge your pumpkin and let it sit in the solution overnight.
  • Use a preservation spray. After the initial wash, it can be beneficial to regularly spray the pumpkins to keep them from breaking down. Like the wash, this can be made from the same three simple ingredients.

Feeling inspired? Find your perfect fall pumpkin with the Minnesota Grown directory.

Pumpkins lined up

Credit: Explore Minnesota